The forthcoming break gives an opportunity to catch up on some reading and I have built up an over ambitious pile of holiday reading during the last term. But where would be without our writers? In a time when even shopping lists are typed into mobile phones, it is unsurprising that the writing skills of young people have been impacted. There always seemed an innate connection between using a tool such as pen or paintbrush and composition, but there are now limited opportunities for young people to physically write outside of school. As anyone who has desperately tried to extract a sentence out of a reluctant writer will know, there are many for whom putting words to paper is far more a chore than a pastime. Writing is a complex activity that draws on a range of skills and undertaking writing for pleasure is unlikely to be stumbled upon without a solid grounding in spelling, handwriting and vocabulary. A recent National Literacy Trust publication exemplifying six writing for enjoyment initiatives reports a 26% fall in the number of young people aged 8-18 writing for enjoyment since 2010, proposing that allowing pupils to play with language to explore how writing works will improve the situation. The idea of opportunities to play with writing in the classroom can seem somewhat whimsical in the current age, but certainly this report makes a good case for workshops and innovation to inspire our next generation of writers.

Whether you are reading, writing, or just planning to stare at the ceiling, I hope you have a great break. Thank you for your hard work this term and your continued focus on the needs of others. It would be wrong of me to not also note a big thank you also to Deborah Rees, our Head of the music service who is retiring this week after over two decades in Camden. Her successor Gareth Gay started on Monday and I look forward to introducing you to him in the new term.

Stephen Hall

Chief Executive Officer, Camden Learning

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